welcome noob (err..linux newbie) anywho....i say try just about anything at this point because you have to find your calling. I know that I like Gnome over KDE and .deb package manager over .rpm. Some people here favor the other way around, and others favor source (or e-builds) and fluxbox or e17. At any rate, I would highly recommend Ubuntu, it has a great case history of running on laptops. The current version is 5.04 hoary, 5.10 breezy is comming out in october somtime and should have even better laptop support.
some other OSes every noob has to try for himself:
many people like them, many don't. See what suits your boat best.